Rutherford Co. sheriff's candidate says investigation political - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Rutherford Co. sheriff's candidate says investigation politically motivated

Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold

The internal investigation into a candidate for Rutherford County sheriff has been reopened after the alleged victim turned over her ex-husband's computer containing possible evidence.

Ralph Mayercik said he hasn't done anything wrong, and the outcome of an internal affairs investigation backs up that claim.

"They did a fantastic job, and they've vindicated me. They've come out and decided there is no proof," Mayercik said.

Mayercik first came in contact with the alleged victim, Shelly Wells, in 2004 when he investigated a harassment case involving her mother. Wells was 17 years old at the time.

"I didn't want to come forward at all. This just ruined a friendship of 10 years almost," Wells said. "But I'm not going to see innocent people like Sheriff Robert Arnold and [Chief Deputy] Virgil Gammons be dragged down at all."

Wells' mother, Sherree Brew, first mentioned her concerns to Arnold when he was first running for sheriff, but she said she decided to come forward officially after Mayercik qualified to run against Arnold in the upcoming election.

"You want someone with who is upstanding with integrity in office," Wells said.

Mayercik said he had no choice but to resign as a detective last week after being denied a transfer from the sheriff's office to the Rutherford County Work Center.

In order for him to get the new job, Mayercik has to sign a document stating he won't sue the county.

Arnold recommended Mayercik be transferred to the Adult Detention Center, instead, after Mayercik allegedly wiped clean his department-issued iPad after the investigation began.

However, Mayercik said he believes the investigation was politically motivated.

"This came out during the week that Robert Arnold was to be deposed in a federal lawsuit involving with another detective, Jim Tramel, when he was fired wrongfully," Mayercik said.

Tramel said he was wrongfully terminated after an internal affairs investigation claims he was spreading rumors about co-workers having inappropriate relations. This came after he told the sheriff he was running against him.

"There is no doubt in my mind it was politically motivated," Tramel told Channel 4 in a 2013 interview.

The sheriff confirms the case was re-opened after Wells turned over her ex-husband's computer that is supposed to contain detailed conversations she's had with the sheriff's candidate over the years.

"The truth is we did have inappropriate communications, and the truth is he did take me to the bar behind D & D Lounge and buy me alcohol three months before I turned 21," Wells said.

Rutherford County Human Resource Director Sonya Stevenson said the only reason county officials want Mayercik to sign that document stating he won't sue the county is because of the tone of his resignation letter.

In it, Mayercik claims Arnold has retaliated against him and created an unstable work environment since he announced he's running for sheriff.

Arnold, Mayercik and Tramel - an independent - will face off in the Aug. 7 general election.

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